There are now several Societies of Construction Law around the world; I was previously a member of the SCL in the UK, but now sit on the board of SOCLA, being the Australian member of the family. Every couple of years, the societies get together for an international conference, and last week it was in Malaysia. Perhaps the word “society” was regarded as old-fashioned (if so, I blame that Tony Blair) but in any event, this year’s international gig was entitled CliC2014.
There is no SCL in the USA or Canada, but they do have an American College of Construction Law and a Canadian College of Construction Law, and it is now becoming the welcome norm for ACCL/CCCL to put on a curtain-raiser to international SCL events.
I rather like Kuala Lumpur: it is my favourite city in Asia, and I enjoyed this conference, which was held first in the new Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, and then in the very pleasant Grand Hyatt.
On Wednesday, the Americans were both charming and interesting, as usual. Then Sir Peter Coulson gave an excellent opening address. Identifying (rightly) that adjudication is the most important thing going on these days in construction law and (again rightly) that adjudication is only as good as its enforcement, he condensed into just one slot the approach of the English courts on this issue.
During the conference itself, there were a wide range of a short papers delivered. The stand-out, in my book, was that of Serena Cheng, who dealt with the topic of implied terms, making out a clear and compelling case that the landscape has changed in recent times. She also won the prize (or at any rate would have won the prize, if there had been one going) for best new jargon with “Coulsonian pith”.